TECHNO FIX: The Geographical Distribution of Technology (barriers to entry)

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TECHNO-FIX
The Geographical Distribution of Technology
Access to technology varies in different parts of the world and there is a contrast
between those who can access new technology versus those who are left to suffer
from environmental determinism e.g. Haiti and Bangladesh (the "switched off world").
Countries suffering from environmental determinism are those that are extremely
vulnerable to natural hazards e.g. droughts especially subsistence farmers who simply
don't have the technology e.g. irrigation and fertilisers to reduce risk and vulnerability.
Today there is still a strong digital divide between the `hyper connected' world and
the "switched off" world. This divide can arguably still be described by the NorthSouth
Brandt line, even though the pattern is more complex due to rise of the BRIC's and
the fall of some EU countries. However,"switched off" places remain to be cut off
from technological development. Asia and especially Africa have fewer users on the
internet, however many Asian mega cities e.g. Mumbai and Shanghai have levels of
internet access well over 40%, where as rural areas have under 5% suggesting that
there can be this `digital divide' within a country.
Barriers that affect access to technology:
LEVEL OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
An example of how the distribution of technology can show a distinct pattern
related to the level of development is air travel some regions are very well
connected e.g. Europe and USA where as other regions are peripheral e.g.
African LDCs. Air travel requires a lot of infrastructure e.g. airports and MEDCs
have the money to invest in the infrastructure required to support the
technology unlike less developed countries. A lack of air travel suggest some
regions are poorly integrated into the global economy and a lack of
connections might also mean that new technology takes longer to reach
peripheral regions.
MEDC's invest more money into R&D and they protect their innovations
through patents laws ­ restricting access in LEDCs. For example,
GlaxoSmithKline (a British company) has the patent for the antiretroviral drugs
which help to treat HIV therefore many LDC countries that need the drugs
wont be able to afford it. Brazil has started making illegal, cheaper copies.
It costs £2,700 a year to get online in Kenya however in the UK you can be
broadband connected with £100.
PHYSICAL:
Some technologies are only suited to certain physical locations e.g. HEP
schemes needs mountainous regions and Solar power needs a large amount of
sunlight!
Landlocked areas struggle to get connection.
POLITICAL:
Some national governments limit access to technology in order to control
information flows.
For example, `Google wars' have occurred in China as the government heavily
polices the internet (censorship) and North Korea strongly restricts western

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TECHNO-FIX
technologies as they want to limit the spread of globalisation and western
values.
ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL:
Certain groups shun certa7in technologies due to their potential negative or
social impacts
For example, Green Peace and Friends of the Earth strongly oppose nuclear
power and GM production which can have an impact on governmental policy.
The Amish communities are also very `antitechnology' ­ they can be described
as luddites.
RELIGIOUS:
Some religions don't agree with the use of certain forms of technology e.g.…read more

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